June 5, 2024

Here’s how it’s going-Two years of Ontario Regulation

By Ramona Depares 

April 2022 made history on the Ontario casinos landscape – it was the month when Bill C-218 was enacted into law, making it possible for each Canada province to create its own regulated casino and sports betting market. Ontario was the first province to scoop up the opportunity.

Now, two years later, the verdict is in. While many were sceptical when the new regulations came in, it would appear that a regulated market is exactly what Ontario players were waiting for, as a new study commissioned by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) in conjunction with iGaming Ontario revealed that the vast majority Canadian gamblers choose to play on regulated sites.

The transition to a regulated market has translated into a number of benefits, with low deposit casinos Ontario able to obtain a license that allows them to operate freely while also significantly contributing to job creation across the province.

The study, which was conducted in February 2024, confirmed that 86.4% of Ontarians who gambled at online casinos Canada during the preceding three months used regulated sites. This represents an increase of 1.1% from the 85.3% of gamblers who reported playing on regulated sites when a similar study was conducted in 2023.

According to the press statement released by AGCO, efforts to strengthen the regulated market are ongoing. Despite the encouraging numbers, the study also revealed that a sizable portion of gamblers chose a mix of both regulated and unregulated sites, and a full 13.6% carried out all their wagering at unlicensed online casinos in Canada. Moreover, participants to the survey named more than 350 unregulated Canadian online casinos that they used regularly, indicating a significant amount of illicit betting activity and a need for AGCO to continue working towards directing players to regulated Ontario casinos. This, despite the fact that there are 47 registered operators offering 77 regulated Ontario casinos.

However, Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey had optimistic words for the outlook of the regulated market, stating that since its April 2022 launch the Ontario igaming model “has been recognized internationally for championing work to displace the unregulated online gaming market. This made-in-Ontario, regulated market will continue to inspire global innovation, while ensuring a safer landscape for players and businesses alike.”

12 000 Jobs created in Ontario Since Regulation

A pleasing side effect of the success of the market has been the creation of a significant number of new jobs within the gambling sector. A report published by research company Deloitte & Touche in June 2023 found that the province’s regulated igaming market was sustaining more than 12,000 full time jobs, contributing nearly $1,6 billion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Ontario.

The report, titled Economic Contributions of Ontario’s Regulated iGaming Market, focused specifically on the economic benefits that the decision to open the market for regulated companies brought with it. The figures predicted a growth of up to 22,000 full-time jobs, $4,7 billion in GDP and more than $2.1 billion in government revenue within eight years.

Dave Forestell, who at the time was Chair of iGaming Ontario, reiterated that such figures proved that “the newly regulated igaming market in Ontario is delivering real benefits to every resident of Ontario, whether they play or not”, describing the iGaming industry as a real economic driver.

Interesting Statistics regulation have seen

Please discuss this. According to recent stats, 32% of high school students have gambled at least once in 2023. Thereafter please ensure an appropriate ending to the piece.

Statistics collected by regulatory intelligence company Vixio and iGaming Ontario also show that the online casinos Canada regulated market did not take too long to catch on, making it to the top 6 in the world according to gross gaming revenue, surpassing even markets like Michigan and New York. The positive results led to Vixio recognizing iGaming Ontario as their 2023 Regulatory Initiative of the Year, which is one of the highest seals of approval a market can obtain.

A breakdown of statistics reveals that sports betting, live poker and table games are the leaders of the pack, achieving the highest percentage of wagers.

Top Sports by wagers since regulation

Ontario’s sports betting market offers more than 60 types of sport, from the obvious to the less obvious like curling and sumo wrestling. Given this, it comes as no surprise to learn that the province’s online sports betting market ranks in the top five in total wagers in North America.

The absolute winner is basketball, leading with a significant advantage and raking in 24% of sports wagers in Ontario. The next in line, which is football, drops to 15%., which says a lot about the enduring popularity of basketball in Canada. Hockey, baseball and soccer rank very close to each other at 11% and 10%, while tennis takes a middle-of-road positioning at 7%. Propping up the final spots in the top 10 are cricket (4%), table tennis and MMA (2%) and, finally, esports at 1%.

Top Table Games in 2023-2024

What about the top online casinos Canada? Here we see an absolute dominance of table games, with blackjack ruling over all else and earning 27% of all bets. Roulette and baccarat go nose-to-nose, bringing in 9% and 8% of bet respectively, while single player poker and craps catch the 1%.

Over 86% of Players in Ontario play on Regulated sites

Why is the success shown by the AGCO survey an important victory? With 86% of players preferring regulated Ontario casinos, this means that the way has been paved for an altogether safer gambling experience for gamblers in the province.

The reasons why Ontarians do well to prefer a licensed Canadian online casino are various, and include a higher standard of safety and security.

In Ontario, regulated sites are held to high standards of game integrity, data security and player protections, including having significant responsible gaming safeguards. While it’s encouraging to see most participants are choosing regulated gaming options, those who are not are unfortunately risking far more than their wagers.

Dr Karin Schnarr, CEO and Registrar at AGCO

This was in fact the primary intention behind the launch of a regulated market. The results of the survey were hailed by Martha Otton, Executive Director of iGaming Ontario as a success in attracting Ontarians to the safer, regulated igaming market.

iGaming Ontario joins our operators, government, and AGCO in celebrating. We will continue to work in lockstep with the AGCO to enable Ontarians to play with confidence.

Martha Otton, Executive Director of iGaming Ontario

With only 13.6% of Ontarians carrying out their gambling purely at unregulated sites, the celebration of this victory is justified, as regulated online casinos in Canada have clearly eaten up the lion’s share of the market, and are likely to continue making even stronger inroads in coming years.

Ontario regulation has been regarded as a success

Two years down the line, it’s safe to say that what started out as an experiment has more than proven its worth, with the regulated environment creating a safer gambling experience for everyone and also contributing towards a stronger economy within the province. And with so many new online casinos Canada in the pipeline, the high standards required by the gambling regulator certainly contribute to peace of mind.

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